Eddy Current Suppression Ring - "You Don't Care" (So Many Things)
The music of the Eddy Current Suppression Ring doesn’t really lend itself to any kind of deep exegesis. They’ve released three albums of pretty great, classic punk that occasionally draws on other sounds. And this collection compiles pretty much everything else they’ve ever recorded, tracking the group from their first release (2004’s Get Up Morning 7” on Corduroy Records) to the singles and outtakes associated with their 2010 album Rush to Relax (everything but 2011’s Walking in Unison 12”). Many of these tracks would show up on their various full-lengths, though I don’t know if the mixes are any different, and at a certain point that doesn’t matter. There’s only so much that can be done with all of this material.
Their formula is simple, so simple that every review of their material can sum it up in just a few sentences. Here’s my take on it: At its core, the ECSR’s sound needs the sound of singer Brendan Suppression’s voice. His sneering, unpolished delivery (three quarters spoken, one quarter sung) his lack of concern for consonants, pitch, or poetic rhythm, his soft Aussie accent, and his undeniable charisma (two parts Iggy, one part Darby, one part Deniz, one half part Mark E. Smith, no parts violence or menace) and affability form the emotional and expressive center of every song here. From there, they plunder the annals of primitivist punk, needing little more than a simple riff to construct a song. I should mention that Eddy Current is a master of tone and timbre on guitar; he never does anything flashy, but every note sounds exactly right. Whether a song needs brittle treble (like “Let Me Be Honest With You” or their cover of The Pagans’ “Boy, Can I Dance Good”), overdriven depth (“Demon’s Demand” or “T.A.L.O.I.G.A.”), or some kind of warped Beatles-esque jangle (“Noise in my Head”), it’s there. And rhythm section Rob Solid and Danny Current fit their roles to a T — never flashy, but always solid. They have a gift for riffs that can keep looping and looping without ever getting old.
While listening to this compilation, I realized just how fully formed and irreducible their sound is. From their first recorded utterance to their most recent, every song is very clearly an ECSR song. Even in their covers — the aforementioned Pagans song and The Go-Gos’ “We Got the Beat” (in which Brendan Suppression is clearly singing waaaaay too high for his voice to actually handle) — the ECSR signature overrides anything the original artists may have done with the songs. Each song does have its own distinct identity, but because of that irreducible ECSR-ness, I kept thinking I had heard just about every song on this compilation somewhere else in their discography.
I’m not entirely sure what all of this means in the end. There’s no reason I should want to listen to these songs over and over and over again — there is, on some level, very little here — but I can’t help but do just that. From day one, they’ve known what they’ve wanted to do and have executed it perfectly. I don’t think they should ever change a thing about their sound, but I think that might also mean that they never really need to release another album. But they also have clearly mastered their keep-it-simple approach, which means they could probably churn out another thousand songs that keep pushing the same buttons and I would probably be equally delirious with the thousandth as the first. So who knows. I’ll definitely keep listening.